Top Ten

January 6, 2008

UNB-SJ says uncertain future will cost them $3.2 million

University of New Brunswick Saint John is projecting a $3.2 million deficit in 2008, due to decreased enrolment.  Some administrators blame September's report from the province's Commission on PSE for raising uncertainty about the university's survival: "I don't think anyone who's been reading the newspaper is going to come to UNB at all, particularly UNBSJ, until the future seems a little more clear." The province has said that UNB-SJ will continue to be named a university, but might not continue to be a traditional liberal arts institution.  A final decision will not be reached until after a special working group reports back to the province in February. UNB-SJ plans to ramp up recruitment spending to make up for the predicted losses.

GTA students prepare alternate routes to school in case of transit strike

Students in southwestern Ontario are preparing for a strike by GO Transit bus drivers this week.  The service carries roughly 30,000 passengers a day, many of whom take lines that stop at Durham College/UOIT, uToronto-Scarborough, York, Sheridan, McMaster, Centennial and uGuelph.  Durham/UOIT students pay for GO service through a U-Pass, and may be eligible for a refund in the event of a strike.  York estimates that 9,000 people use GO to access the campus each day. GO recently added double-decker buses for peak hours.

Canadore / Nipissing deal with damage after hydro fails

Canadore College and Nipissing University, which share a campus in North Bay, shut down unexpectedly on December 27th when a powerful surge knocked out power.  The surge was caused because thieves stole a vital section of copper grounding wire at a distribution grid. When systems tried to restart a week later, several water pumps and motors failed to start and fire-suppressant sprays discharged in a computer lab. More than $250,000 has been spent replacing wiring, and officials have disposed of all food stored in residence fridges and freezers.

Rumours circulate about next Carleton president

Carleton University is expected to announce its next president as early as tomorrow.  The selection committee has been tight-lipped throughout its deliberations, despite an open call for nominations and search criteria.  Several candidates are rumoured to be finalists, including Samy Mahmoud (Carleton grad and acting Provost and VP Academic), and Roseann Runte (president of Old Dominion University in Virginia).  Former president David Atkinson left his post just 15 months into a 6-year term.

Acadia president steps down after "banner" year

Dr. Gail Dinter-Gottlieb, president of Acadia University, has announced she will step down at the end of February, more than a year before her term ends, citing personal and family reasons.  (She and her husband have been handling an international relationship for a decade.) In August she advised her board that she would not be seeking a third term. The board "reluctantly" accepted Gottlieb's resignation.  During her time with the school, Gottlieb had many accomplishments, including Acadia's most successful capital campaign ever -- but also the only 2 faculty strikes in the school's history.

Gen1 learners are 2.4 times less likely to pursue PSE

According to Ontario's MTCU, first-generation students are 2.4 times less likely to attend college or university than their peers, whose parents did attend PSE.  Many institutions have launched initiatives to help overcome this trend, including York University and Centennial College.  Parents who attended PSE tend to have higher incomes, and savings plans for their children's education. There is also often a lack of support to pursue PSE for first-generation learners: "it's always hard to do something different than what your family believes."  Gen1s also face PSE without the advice of an experienced parent to help them transition to college or university.

Centennial College launches new media management program for 2008

Centennial College is jumping into social marketing at a different angle with its new Advertising Media Management program, which will have its first class in fall 2008.  New media options are stretching marketing budgets, and Centennial's new program will train specialists who can help companies identify which media will give them the most "bang for their advertising buck."  The program will cover traditional media and new outlets such as transit television and mobile ads. 

Students campaign against homophobic blood ban

University student groups across the country are joining a national student campaign against a ban on "gay blood donations" upheld by Canadian Blood Services.  The issue was raised by the Canadian Federation of Students in 2006, and has now been joined by students at the University of Western Ontario, uToronto, McGill, and uSaskatchewan.  Blood Services is being asked to drop the donor ban on sexually-active gay men -- despite the agency's decision to keep the ban just months ago.

Build it and they may not come, says e-community expert

A scholar with Queensland University of Technology's Centre for Learning Innovation says that not all online communities are effective.  Lively communication between peers is vital to building a sense of community among users.  Look for "isolated forum contributions" (posts that do not receive responses) in your online communities, as these can frustrate and alienate contributors.  While not all students may want to be in an e-community, engaging them in this way has still been shown to yield higher student satisfaction.  Dr. Dawson warns against sitting on one's laurels if e-community activity jumps at the start of term, and instead recommends a strategy to keep students engaged through the busy midterm and final exam seasons.

Communications experts predict trends for 2008

Last year, the fellows of the Society for New Communications Research made several correct predictions, including increased popularity of YouTube and Second Life, the rise of social media tools and APIs, and increased use of social media tools by marketers.  For 2008, SNCR's fellows are predicting increased micro-blogging (eg. Twitter) and corporate blogging. Organizations will undertake multi-media communications projects that include audio, video and virtual environments.  They also anticipate universal identities that can be used across all social networks.